Self view and conceit

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Sam Vara
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:32 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:09 am
You can think of this as an analytic statement: "To the extent that a control over our experience exists, that's what we call a self in this context".
But this is just an assertion, and I still don't see the basis for it. It looks like an arbitrary definition.

I can see that not having control is unsatisfactory, but what has that do with the existence or non-existence of a self?
First, consider the general question of what would count as the basis for any assertion; or what a definition would be that was not arbitrary. As I said above, you can see this as analytic. Wherever there is a situation in which we would say there is no control, there is what we call selflessness.

Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self, in the context within which the Buddha was talking. Without any control at all - even the ability to direct one's attention to another thought or memory against which one can compare whatever is arising now - then there could be no possible formulation or idea of "self". To think "I am a self", or "I have a self", or "there is this enduring perceptive thing", etc., you need to have the ability to call such a concept to mind. Without such an ability - that amount of control - no such thought-construction is possible.

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Manopubbangama
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Manopubbangama » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:13 pm

James Tan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:09 pm
Self view is eliminated by the Sotapanna.

Does the (conceit or mana) or self identity is different from self view ?
From my understanding, the amount of remaining mana may have relevance as to the resultant type of stream-entry:

Three kinds are to be distinguished:

the one 'with 7 rebirths at the utmost' (sattakkhattu-parama),
the one 'passing from one noble family to another' (kolankola),
the one 'germinating only once more' (eka-bījī).

Here is a good reference: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


“Those who are partially accomplished attain a part; those who are wholly accomplished, the whole. The training rules, I tell you, are not in vain.”
Sabbe Sankhara Anicca - Sabbe Sankhara Dukkha - Sabbe Dhamma Anatta

uojm
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by uojm » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:20 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:16 am
I know the formula, but I still
We moved to “The Self and Controll. See my last post in there, where a question in return is waiting for you. An answer like “this is such or so” might not be so convenient here, since there are some implications to deal with (first).

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Circle5
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Circle5 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:53 am

Of course conceit is different than self view. Self view is an opinion, an opinion based on wrong understanding and lack of information about how things actually work.

Conceit is a mental tendency, same as the tendency towards calmness. Yet, this tendency colors most of our experience. How does it work? For example people from a region of my country, Transilvania, are very calm and slow. Whatever they are doing in their life, they are calmer and slower on average than other people. Most of their experience is colored by this. If they are driving their car, they're doing it more calmly and slowly. If they are speaking, they also do it slow and calm, etc.

Similarly, there is this tendency for conceit. The presence of this mental tendency leads to feelings having a specific property, the property of feeling as "mine". There is this feeling there, this feeling of things being mine. Nobody can deny it. It this feeling would not exist, then self view would not develop in the first place.

From time to time, feelings tainted by conceit will arise. Because such feelings appear, the logical conclusion will be "there must be a self, otherwise this feeling that this is mine, etc. would not appear". This is the logic on which self view is based. Yet, this is wrong and that feeling arises through a different mechanism, without any self being needed.

An understanding of higher dhamma will lead to understanding the trickery and getting rid of self view. Yet, conceit will take a lot more because it is a mental tendency and so an intensive program directed towards removing it is required.

Dinsdale
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:36 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self....
But why? What is this the logical basis for this assertion? I still haven't seen a coherent explanation, just the repetition of an unsubstantiated assertion.

Having a "soul" wouldn't necessarily mean having control of the aggregates, and it's quite possible to have a sense of "me" ( mana ) but not feel in control.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

chownah
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by chownah » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:01 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self, in the context within which the Buddha was talking.
I chuckled when I read this......it is sort of funny to see someone state a necessary and sufficient condition for something which does not exist!!!!!! :jumping:
chownah

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Sam Vara
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:19 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:36 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self....
But why? What is this the logical basis for this assertion? I still haven't seen a coherent explanation, just the repetition of an unsubstantiated assertion.
It might look to you like an unsubstantiated assertion, but it is, as I have said twice before, an analytic point, which you still are unable to grasp.

Let's look at it the other way. What are these things that you are referring to: a soul, and a sense of "me"?

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Sam Vara
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:26 pm

chownah wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:01 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self, in the context within which the Buddha was talking.
I chuckled when I read this......it is sort of funny to see someone state a necessary and sufficient condition for something which does not exist!!!!!! :jumping:
chownah
Agreed! But that's the point: if a thing exists, then it has that. But it doesn't have that, so it doesn't exist.

uojm
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by uojm » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:43 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:26 pm
chownah wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:01 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self, in the context within which the Buddha was talking.
I chuckled when I read this......it is sort of funny to see someone state a necessary and sufficient condition for something which does not exist!!!!!! :jumping:
chownah
Agreed! But that's the point: if a thing exists, then it has that. But it doesn't have that, so it doesn't exist.
When the Buddha was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta (SN44.10) whether or not a self did exist, the Buddha didn’t reply. Later on when asked by the venerable Ananda on why he kept silent, the Buddha explained:

If I had answered that there is a self it would be siding with eternalists.
And answering that there is no self would be siding with annihilationists.
And if I had answered that there is a self, would this be consistent with the insight: “All things are not-self”? [Ananda] No, Bhante.
And if I had answered that there is no self, the wanderer Vacchagotta would have become even more confused thinking: “The self I used to have now suddenly does not exists”.

Some conclude that the last part means that there is no self (doesn’t exist) and that the Buddha didn’t explain that to Vacchagotta who would otherwise become even more confused.

There are a few problems with this interpretation. For one (found close by) it would be siding with the annihilationists, which was already tackled in the first place.

That ‘All things are not-self’ would be correct for those holding the view ‘there is no self’ as well (They might think ‘All things are not-self’ because there is no self). But unlike the view ‘there is a self’, there is consistency. Because of this consistency, the inconsistency card could here not be played. But this does not mean, not even logically, that things are not-self only in the case of no self. What can correctly be said is things are not-self when things are not-self, or that things which are depended are thus not-self, etc.

If all things are not self, or if (no)thing is self, a distorted conclusion would be that a self is not. So “I” too would have no self. But then we got the situation that there must be a self (“I”) in order to have no self. And so “The self I used to have now suddenly does not exists” would then be the logical conclusion for Vacchagotta.

Although confused Vacchagotta was not stupid. There are more sermons of him asking questions related to this, so we can see that he was inquiring, studying, seeing that what the Buddha and his disciples explained was consistent; so he was trying to understand what they were aiming at. And successful too, later he did became one of the arahants.

What was the question?

“And if I had answered that there is no self, the wanderer Vacchagotta would have become even more confused…”

This seem to be (mis)understood as a potential valid answer to which Vacchagotta was just not ready. But it may depends a bit on how we interpreted Ananda’s question. Ananda would have know that these closed questions were based on Wrong View. And that the Buddha was silent because answering them would not be conducive to the end of suffering. So the question could be interpreted as how (in what manner) these views were not conducive to the end of suffering. And thus we see the Buddha explaining which problems would arise with either one of these two mutually exclusive views: Both are siding with wrong view, on top of that one is even inconsistent with what we know and the other, though consistent, would still add to the confusion.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:29 pm

uojm wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:43 pm

When the Buddha was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta (SN44.10) whether or not a self did exist, the Buddha didn’t reply. Later on when asked by the venerable Ananda on why he kept silent, the Buddha explained...
Yes, that particular sutta has been discussed many times here on DW. I don't wish to deal with the general question of whether it means that the Buddha denied the existence of a self. I'm only concerned here with the more specific question of why that which we cannot control cannot be a self.

I'll leave it to someone else to pick that one up if they want!

chownah
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by chownah » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:40 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:26 pm
chownah wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:01 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self, in the context within which the Buddha was talking.
I chuckled when I read this......it is sort of funny to see someone state a necessary and sufficient condition for something which does not exist!!!!!! :jumping:
chownah
Agreed! But that's the point: if a thing exists, then it has that. But it doesn't have that, so it doesn't exist.
Your point is well taken .....without some kind of control it is difficult to imagine a self but if one imagines control well then this is enough to support the idea of an imagined self.... .....perhaps imagined control and the imagined self are like two bundles of reeds leaning against each other...if one is removed the other falls.

By the way....do you know of the sutta where the buddha said that he could not conceive of a self which would not cause pain and anguish?....I think it would be good to bring it to these discussions of the possible exisence of self.
chownah

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Virgo
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Virgo » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:02 am

James Tan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:09 pm
Self view is eliminated by the Sotapanna.

Does the (conceit or mana) or self identity is different from self view ?
Greetings James Tan,

Some relevant reading on ditthi:

http://www.vipassana.info/cetasikas18.html

and mana:

http://www.vipassana.info/cetasikas19.html

Kevin...

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Sam Vara
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:22 am

chownah wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:40 am

By the way....do you know of the sutta where the buddha said that he could not conceive of a self which would not cause pain and anguish?....I think it would be good to bring it to these discussions of the possible exisence of self.
chownah
There is this bit in MN 22:
"You may well accept, monks, the assumption of a self-theory[27] from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such assumption of a self-theory?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such assumption of a self-theory from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair."
although that specifically talks of a theory or doctrine of self.

Dinsdale
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:06 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:19 pm
Dinsdale wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:36 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self....
But why? What is this the logical basis for this assertion? I still haven't seen a coherent explanation, just the repetition of an unsubstantiated assertion.
It might look to you like an unsubstantiated assertion, but it is, as I have said twice before, an analytic point, which you still are unable to grasp.
I haven't seen any "analysis" or explanation, just the repetition of an assertion, ie lack of control = selflessness. It remains unsubstantiated, almost like an article of faith.

I checked the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta to see if any explanation was offered there for the "control argument", but no, it's just a bland assertion.

"Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html

Is there a sutta which explains why lack of control = selflessness? Or is it just one of those things we're expected to take on faith? :shrug:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

Dinsdale
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Re: Self view and conceit

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:29 am

chownah wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:40 am
Your point is well taken .....without some kind of control it is difficult to imagine a self but if one imagines control well then this is enough to support the idea of an imagined self.... ....
So do you have a sense of "me"? And do you feel like you're in control of everything?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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